Veteran's Day is Tuesday, November 11. It is a time to honor and remember our military veterans...past and present. We can make a difference in the lives of millions of people if we not only remember, but also reach out to support the troops returning from combat service.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has become a major mental health issue as our veterans return from serving in the war. The Rand Corporation recently released a study estimating that one in five U.S. service members who served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffers from major depression or combat stress. We are seeing an increase in combat stress, addiction, domestic violence and suicide. Too often the ethic is to be silent about combat related mental health problems. Only half of those with mental health problems seek treatment.
Mental Health Ministries is offering an interfaith Veteran's Day resource that can be used as a bulletin insert. A bulletin insert is printed on both sides and cut in half. We hope this will raise the important issues faced by our returning troops and give your faith community some ideas on how to be supportive. This resource is available in English and in Spanish.
I am privileged to be a part of a dedicated group of persons serving as an advisory group to the NAMI national staff. We have written a mission and guidelines statement and NAMI national is producing an informative brochure on the mission of FaithNet. We are also working to make the FaithNet micro site easier to navigate. There will be a column written by our committee members and guests each month. NAMI FaithNet will continue to highlight resources appropriate to the year like resources for Mental Illness Awareness Week.
You are encouraged to visit the NAMI FaithNet website at www.nami.org/faithnet
I recently reviewed a moving film on schizophrenia from an independent producer from South Africa. The film, Oil on Water, tells the story of a young artist, Max, who has undiagnosed schizophrenia. It illustrates the paranoia of schizophrenia and the effect it has on friends and family. Although the film works as a psychological drama, it gives a realistic depiction of schizophrenia psychosis to help create awareness and diminish the stigma attached to this illness. It is also the spiritual journey for his fiancée Anna, as she seeks understanding of Max's behavior.
Oil on Water won the Gold Award for Best Feature Film at the Everglades International Film Festival and been nominated for 9 other international awards, including Best Feature Film, Best Leading Actress and Best Leading Actor. NARSAD and NAMI are planning a screening in New York as a fund raiser for Schizophrenia Research.
To find out about the film and see the trailer, visit www.schizophrenia.co.za
The Mennonite Publishing Network is in the process of developing a series of pastoral care brochures on a variety of topics. The Close to Home series is designed to help Christian caregivers invite others to journey toward wholeness.
Close to Home is a series of booklets that Christian caregivers in churches and counseling centers can use to begin conversations about personal issues as they relate to faith, congregational care, and professional help. Several titles are out and other titles are in the works. To find out more information, visit their website at www.mpn.net/closetohome .
We are phasing out some of our VHS resources. We have the most copies Creating Caring Congregations and Mental Illness and Families of Faith. These VHS resources are available for $10. For quantity orders of any of our DVD or VHS resources, contact Susan for a reduced rate.
Fall is my favorite season of the year. Living in California, we miss the more dramatic seasonal changes experienced in other parts of the country.
We do have two beautiful liquid amber trees. Our front yard tree provides a touch of fall as the leaves turn brilliant shades of gold, red, orange and brown. But the tree in our backyard clings to its leaves for several more months. It seems like the tree is unwilling to let go. It holds on tight even as the leaves shrivel and turn brown. The tree is finally forced to let go when the spring buds emerge and push the dead leaves off the branches. I'm the only person I know who rakes leaves in the spring!
Most of us have those things we cling to. Mostly it is out of fear of change and the uncertainty of what lies ahead. It is difficult to really trust the process of letting go to make room for what is to come. But when we do let go, we open ourselves to God's Spirit, coaxing us to new life and awakening our hearts to infinite possibilities for the future.
In music, in a flower, in a leaf, in an act of kindness...
I see what people call God in all these things.
~ Pablo Casals
Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder
Coordinator of Mental Health Ministries
6707 Monte Verde Dr.
San Diego, CA 92119